Wild Gams Stops 'Bettie in Safely Kept BC

New Farm's homebred Wild Gams came from off the pace to grab the lead in deep stretch for jockey Ryan Fogelsonger, digging in for the final strides to defeat 11-10 choice Wildcat Bettie B in the $200,000 Safely Kept Breeders's Cup (gr. III) Saturday at Laurel Park.

Wild Gams turned the tables on Wildcat Bettie B, who had beaten her by a narrow margin in the Prioress Breeders' Cup (gr. I) at Belmont Park.

Fogelsonger, riding Wild Gams for the first time, brought the daughter of Forest Wildcat home first by three-quarters of a length in the six-furlong test for 3-year-old fillies in a time of 1:09 1/5 on a fast track.

Fogelsonger was ebullient afterward, saying, "When I turned for home, I just kept going and knew it was that horse (Wildcat Bettie B) on the outside coming; but you don't worry about it, you just look for the wire and get it done."

The New Jersey-bred Wild Gams, coming off a neck victory in the restricted Eleven North Handicap at Monmouth Sept. 16, earned her first graded stakes score since she captured the Cicada (gr, III) at Aqueduct in March for trainer Ben Perkins Jr.

Wild Gams tracked a contested pace between Cajun Mistress at the rail, Coli Bear, and G City Gal, who clicked splits of :22 3/5 and :45 3/5. Wild Gams, who moved up to fourth on the outside after a half-mile, was in perfect position to strike as they straightened away for the stretch run, and she responded best of all.

Wildcat Bettie B was a tad unlucky under Mario Pino, trapped behind the leading trio on the inside and taking much the worst of it. On the turn, she fell back to the rear of the pack but came on strongly after getting running room in the lane on the outside. G City Gal was in control in upper stretch for Chris DeCarlo but could not hold off the first two.

Trainer Perkins said, "When Wildcat Bettie B beat us, she just lapped outside of us on the turn and beat us in New York," Perkins recalled.
"I felt she was the horse to beat, and I told Ryan, 'whatever you do, wait just as long as you can and keep her inside of you where we'll be able to clear her.' She'll have to try and come around us."

Pino wasn't concerned about the tactics.

"I wish every race set up like that," he said. "But when it was time to go at the three-eighths pole, she hopped up and down and I couldn't get her level. When she took to the right lead she took off, but it was too late."

The third choice in a field of seven, Wild Gams paid $14, $3.80, and $2.80 for her sixth win in 12 outings while increasing her earnings to $405,206. Wild Gams is five for eight this year.

Prioress (gr. I) winner Wildcat Bettie B, looking for her fourth consecutive graded stakes victory, returned $2.40 and $2.10. G City Gal was $3.40 to show.

Livermore Valley, Miss Macy Sue, Coli Bear, and Cajun Mistress completed the order. New Hope Seven was scratched.

(Chart, Equibase)